Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trash to Treasure!

Have you ever wondered how you could recycle plastic water or soda bottle caps in the classroom?

I saw a post on Pinterest a while back where a teacher made a math station for multiplication facts using bottle caps and well, let's just say I gave it a try and it was a big hit in my classroom!

Go from this!

To this!

Problem on the top of the cap and answer on the inside of the cap.

Just be sure to clean the bottle caps in the dishwasher!

I store them in a crystal light container that I taped directions to and I included the number of caps the station should have.

I have quite a few of these stations, so for easier sorting I used the same color caps, same color dot sticker for problems and same color dot sticker for answers.  So if students mix them up (You know that they will find a way!) it will be easier to find the caps that belong to their station.

The dot stickers come in so many colors, so there are many color combinations that are possible.

My tactile learners LOVE this activity.  They work in pairs and take turns answering.  If they get it correct, they get to stack their cap in a vertical tower (one on top of the other) or triangular tower (staggered one on top of the other).  The student that causes the tower to fall looses the game.

Hey! It works for me!  They start the game over and their integer fluency increases!  

I have some for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of integers.  So easy to make that my students even offered to make some for me!  How cool is that?!

Here are some other quick and easy prep integer activities that you can find at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Picking Up the Pieces!

It happens.  So much time spent on creating, making, and preparing math stations.  The typing.  The printing.  The cutting. The laminating, then re-cutting!  Trying to keep stations organized and neat but it's inevitable!  One piece goes missing and the station just isn't the same anymore!

Doesn't it make you just want to GRRRRRRRRR!?!?!?!?!?!

Well, I finally came up with a solution that works in my classroom. I just wanted to share it with you!
Here it is!

I printed out a sign and taped it to the back of a clear plastic envelope pocket.  I then stapled the envelope to a bulletin board located at the front of the classroom where everyone can see it.

It has made a HUGE difference!

One class uses the math stations and before you know it, the bell rings.  They put stations away, but sometimes can be careless.  When the next class enters, if they find anything on the floor that belongs to a station (card, number cube, game piece, etc.), they pick it up and place it in the envelope.  When it's time for stations and something is missing, they know exactly where to look!  They usually know when something is missing because I include the number of cards or other items in the directions for the station.

I hope this was a helpful tip!  Please let me know by clicking "helpful" at the bottom of my post.

Thanks and have a great day!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fact or Fib - Attributes of Three-Dimensional Figures

Fact or Fibs are great ways to review content or even provide closure to a lesson.

I have created this Fact or Fib to provide practice on identifying attributes of three-dimensional figures.

Students will first go through a series of slides show examples of vertices, faces and edges.

Then the Fact or Fib fun begins!

What is a Fact or Fib?  Click HERE for more information.

Here is a short video preview!

You can find this activity HERE.

Click the link to view more preview videos! ---> Fact or Fib Preview Videos

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tired of "No Name"?

This song is an oldie but goodie, but when sung with these words, it helps solve the "No Name" problem!  Even though it was released way back when my 7th grade students were about 3 or 4 years old, they are still familiar with it.  

When it's time to turn in an assignment, I project this image on the screen.  Believe it or not, some students actually sing it out loud.  Yes!  They sing the words on the image!  I'm okay with that, because they are reminding everyone else to make sure they wrote their name on their paper.

When I forget, they remind me to show it to the class.  
The results are great!  Now when assignments are turned in, I rarely get "No Name" papers. 

Click HERE, download and print if you would like to try it out in your classroom!  It's FREE!!!

Hope this is helpful!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Storage for Stations!

Are you looking for sturdy storage for some of your stations?
Consider recycling!

I recycle plastic canisters to use as storage for some of my math stations.  Some of the stations I have are made on wooden craft sticks, a.k.a. popsicle sticks, miniature Easter eggs, small plastic cups and foam or wood cubes.

It's not easy to store those in envelopes or plastic baggies.  So, I decorated containers using contact paper, colorful paper and tape and use them to store stations in. On some of the containers, I include directions for the activity I keep inside.

They fit perfectly on my shelves and students love them!
When it's time to put away, it's very easy for students to just quickly put the station materials away in the container and back on the shelf.



Here are some of the stations I keep in these thrifty storage containers.  Click on the pics and check them out!!
Combining Like Terms
Trash to Treasure

Making Cents in Math

Monday, March 21, 2016

Permanent Marker Hack!

If you like to number your desks but hate it when students start peeling off the sticker or tape that the number is written on, THIS HACK IS FOR YOU!

 1.  Use permanent marker to write numbers on your desks. I have done this and the numbers stay on for quite a while. Longer than numbers taped to the desks!  That's for sure!

2.  When it's time to change, erase, or redo numbers, just grab a dry erase marker! I find that a black dry erase marker works best.

3.  Use the dry erase marker to completely cover the number written in permanent marker. Let it dry completely.

4.  Wipe off the dry erase marker.   

4.  Voila! It's all gone!

But wait! There's more!  
This trick works on laminated materials also!

If you accidentally wrote on a dry erase board with a permanent marker, this trick will fix that too!

Who knew? Permanent doesn't always have to be permanent.

Please let me know if this was "Funny", "Interesting", "Cool" or "Helpful" in the reaction boxes below!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What's Wrong With This Sign?

Have you ever entered a store and noticed a really great deal on something because of the sign? Maybe you've passed by a restaurant and decided to eat there because of the "Special of the Day" advertised in their window.  Well, make sure you calculated the deal because sometimes it isn't such a great deal after all!

Imagine the possibilities!  Students can have great discussions with each other as they try to find the mistake and make a correction!  That's right! Someone's error is our gain in the classroom.

Here are some ideas on how you can use this with your students:

  1. Math Stations - Have students select one sign, find the error and fix it. Then have them recreated their version of the same sign with their correction.  Great as a display with the original picture clipped on the student's version for others to see!
  2. Whole Class Discussion - Display a sign for the whole class to see and have them discuss with their group or shoulder partner what the error is and how they can correct it!
  3. Project - Challenge students to take pictures of signs that they find incorrect at stores. It would be awesome to then share them with the classroom and have them explain what the error is.
You can find more signs to use in your classroom on my "What's Wrong With This Sign?" Pinterest board.  Just click on the link!  Be sure to follow me so that you can see more signs when I add them to the board.

Have a "Mathalicious" day!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Don't you just LOVE FREE STUFF?!?!

Get a FREE download of my Simplifying Fractions Spinners Game!
It's great as a math station!
Just print and play!
Use a paper clip as a spinner.
Just click HERE for your FREE download.

Thanks and have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Look what I found!

With nothing to do on Spring Break, I decided to hit up the local Goodwill store.  Look what I found! I've seen Jenga Games made into math and literacy stations on different sites, but I really didn't want to pay a whopping $10 for one.  I'm a teacher, remember?  Funds are limited.

Anywho, I got this one at a third of the price and only three pieces are missing.  WHOOP! WHOOP! Now I have to see how I'm going to turn it into a math station.  All I know is that my students are going to LOVE it!

I'll share photos of my progress later.  I just wanted to share my exciting find!  :D

Stay tuned for an update!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Want to challenge your students today?
Have a little fun and see who can say
"Irish Wristwatch" without error.
It'll definitely keep them busy but most importantly, teach them how to be persistent!!!

May the luck of the Irish smile on you!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Quick Tip!

Alligator!  Pac-Man!  Arrows!  I've heard it all!  As a matter of fact, so have my students!   I'm referring to inequality symbols.  Have you ever noticed that many students STILL get confused with them even if you give them these little hints!  I think it's because they get confused with what the "alligator" or "Pac Man are eating, the larger or smaller number.  Some might also get confused about what the "arrow" is pointing to, the larger or smaller number.

Well, believe it or not, I'm going to give you another "hint".  Hold on a minute! Before you judge, let me tell you that out of my 26 years of teaching, this hint has rendered the BEST results!
Have you ever noticed that the less than symbol (<) looks like a crooked "L"?

"L" for <ess than.  (See what I did there?)  

This truly has been what I've used for over 20 years and it works for majority of my students that have the Alligator/Pac-Man/Arrow struggle.  Hey, the struggle is real!  (Sorry, couldn't resist.  If you find a method that works the same for ALL students, please fill me in!

I hope this tip helps you and your students.  Just another tip that will hopefully help solve another math problem.

Have a "Mathalicious" day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Integer Fluency Circles

I'm from Texas, and as some of you already know, many of the math standards have been rearranged to different grade levels.

As a 7th grade math teacher, it was my job to teach 7th graders addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of integers with and without models.  It was brand new to them in 7th grade until (insert horror music here) standards were changed.

Now, they are supposed to learn computation of integers with and without models in 6th grade.  Well, let's just say there are many gaps that still need to be filled, in all grade levels including 7th.

That's when I came up with Integer Fluency Circles. It's a spin off of multiplication circles I saw a few years back (okay, way waaaayyyy back).

I'm not a big fan of making thousands upon thousands of copies of worksheets for my students while standing by the copy machine fighting the urge to fall asleep due to the soothing rhythm it creates. Therefore, I made Integer Fluency Circles for each of my students and laminated them so that they could keep them in their "pencil" bag for easy access.  They also have a dry erase marker in their bag and small felt square they use as an eraser.

Students LOVE this activity!  I made it a bit of a competition within their group.  I first tell them what number to write in the center of the circle, then I announce "Ready? Set? ______!!!" Insert add, subtract or multiply in the blank.  Then, it's a race.  The person to get the most correct at the end of the round earns a point.  They keep score on their desk with their dry erase marker.

I post answers on the screen so that they can check.  For further review, I have them discuss mistakes made and what they need to do to get it correct next time.

You can find this activity HERE.  I've provided different sizes, as well as blank circles to create your own.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fact or Fib Activities


Fact or Fib is a great activity to use as a review or even closure to a lesson.

Each student needs a Fact or Fib card.  These can easily be made using an index card.  Students can write Fact on one side and Fib on the other.

I usually give my students about 5 minutes to make and decorate their Fact or Fib card.  I then have them keep it in a pocket glued into their interactive math journal for easy access.

How does Fact or Fib work?  The teacher presents a question, problem, picture, etc. with a statement that could be a fact or a fib. Students are then given think time.

After think time, I usually say "3 -2-1" and students put down their Fact or Fib card on their desk with the answer they selected facing up.  I then let students discuss their selection with their shoulder partner before revealing the correct answer.

I created Fact or Fib activities on PowerPoint and animated them to keep students' attention.  They have worked really well and students have been very attentive.

You can download Fact or Fib cards for free at my TPT store.  Just click on the link below.

Here is an example of one of my Fact or Fib activities.  I made it into a movie just to provide an example of my work, so it goes a little fast.  However, the actual PowerPoint is controlled by clicking to go on to the next slide so that you can go at the pace you need to for your class.

This Fact or Fib on Order of Operations can be found at HERE.

Free Fact or Fib Cards - download or you can just have your students make their own on an index card.

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Be sure to check out more video previews of all my Fact or Fib activities HERE